Duggar family getting even more bigger

The already large family of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Tontitown, Arkansas is expanding.  Again.  The well-known Duggar family already includes 17 children and Michelle is currently expecting their 18th child, a girl due on New Year’s Day.  The births of their last three children were featured on Discover Health Channel specials.

The Duggar family, just after the birth of their 17th child, in front of their house

The Duggar family, just after the birth of their 17th child, in front of their house

The Duggars, who are Baptists, are members of what is called the Quiverfull movement, a small segment of conservative Protestants who eschew all forms of birth control and promote having lots of children.  The family has it’s own website, which includes many pictures of the family and their large, well-kept home.  It is interesting to read about how they keep their enourmous family functioning smoothly.  Part of their secret is having the older children heavily involved and responsible for raising the younger children.  The site provides fascinating insight into a family that almost certainly is quite different from yours and mine.

Mr. Duggar served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999–2002, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate.  He is currently a real estate agent, which probably helped him get his family’s massive house built.  Including her current pregnancy, Mrs. Duggar has been pregnant 18 times (she’s given birth to two sets of twins).  Assuming that she gives birth on New Year’s Day, and that each of her pregnancies lasted 270 days, by my calculations, when she gives birth, Mrs. Duggar will have been pregnant 56.8% of the time since she conceived her first child—back in 1987 when Ronald Reagan was president. 

One may wonder if the Duggars are single-handedly trying to solve the solvency problems of Social Security, or whether Mr. Duggar wants to return to politics and figures that it will be easier to get elected when his family and his constituency are coextensive.  (They already make up 2% of Tontitown, Arkansas’s population.)

I have no objections to the size of their family; there is no evidence of any disfunction and, indeed, they seem more stable and happy than most American families.  The live debt-free and seem to be a very close bunch.  Just maybe there is something we can learn from them?

While the media really likes the Duggars, they get made fun of a good bit in the blogosphere, much of which I think is related to the family’s very conservative brand of Christianity.  While I also find the Quiverfull Movement unusual and legalistic—and without sound theological basis—they don’t appear to be causing any harm, the kids all seem happy and well-adjusted; since the idea is unlikely to catch on there’s no reason to mock their theology and personal choices, though there is certainly a time and place for critically examining their philosophical and theological underpinnings.  But I don’t do that here.

What I will do is question their naming conventions: they’ve given all their children names begin with J but they somehow have never gotten around to naming one of them Jacob!  It’s only been the #1 boy’s name for nine years running (a trend that I claim some credit in starting).  C’mon, folks!

Anyway, best wishes to the entire Duggar family.  Hopefully Michelle’s latest pregnancy goes smoothly and their newest addition is a healthy addition to their family.  But, hopefully, if you guys have started a trend it’s not in the direction of gigantic families for everyone.

6 comments so far

  1. A.S on

    That’s infuriating … they took go forth and populate too seriously. With so many children in the world dying of hunger and neglect, why don’t they use their “gift” with those? It seems selfish to me.

  2. JULES on


  3. jacob1207 on

    I see no reason to suppose that any of the children aren’t happy. Why wouldn’t they be? They have a large family, yes, but they get along very well and, to all that I can tell, are in a very loving and supportive environment. There are many types of families that can nurture children; just because someone’s family is different than mind (in a quantitative, not qualitative way, no less) doesn’t mean they can’t be happy.

    It will be interesting to see where the older Duggar children are in, say, 10-15 years. Will they have large families? How will they look back on their childhood experiences? Even if this is Mrs. Duggar’s last child, we haven’t run out of material for Duggar family documentaries and TV specials.

  4. Ben on
  5. Mel on

    I have seen so many comments from various blogs about this family that have the “Starving, homeless, poor and lonely” children of the world spin. Yes there are kids out there that are at a disadvantage. And if you feel so very strongly about it, then by all means, start adopting and sending money to the various org’s that help these disadvantaged kids. But don’t go and get all liberal about it when a family has the views that they do. Personally I say put up or shut up. When you start adopting these kids then you can talk about how “unhealthy” the Duggar’s are.

  6. Ang on

    I’m with you Mel on the adoption comments, and to add another spin on that, do you have any idea how much it costs to adopt? My friends adopted 3 children from Haiti for a grand total of $70,000! I’d personally love to adopt children, but I can’t afford it.

    As for the kids not being happy….what? They look happy to me! Have you ever watched Wife Swap? If you have, you’ve seen plenty of families that have a couple rotten, disrespectful brats – but hey, they only have a “proper” 2 or 3, so…that’s ok. But 16 or 17 happy, loving, respectful children – whoa…..let’s rip on them!
    Whatever people……..
    God Bless em!

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